Mr. Chairman recuse yourself
Last week's public hearing on the proposed increase in lot size was a disservice to residents.
From the chairman's admitted bias on increasing the lot size to the blatant disregard for the public's input this hearing (and lack there of) was a snub in the nose to Orange taxpayers.
The meeting was disruptive, overcrowded and chaotic. Stairwells held onlookers and hallways were filled to over capacity. On a cold wet winter's night the meeting area was hot and stuffy. People could not see or hear the proceedings and began to shout and heckle Town Plan and Zoning Commission Chairman Michael Paolini who couldn't seem to make his microphone work.
Paolini has been a zoning member for 10 years. He should recuse himself from the now-extended hearings and turn its oversight to new co-chairman Glen Pearson.
Paolini has already publicly stated he is in favor of increasing the lot size. (remember those campaign ads pledging to increase the size?) Isn't it impossible for him to have an open mind and judge the issue based on the merit of what the evidence of the public hearing reveals? He has already refused to allow the landowners to have a say - he wouldn't appoint any of them to an ad hoc study committee - instead he dealt with it himself. And he has already expressed his personal strong opinions.
And don't forget Paolini has already said that the proposed increase in lot size is the "single most important issue" that has faced the commission during his tenure on it. If this is true - it surpasses the public hearings for Target as well as the now legendary public hearings on Stew Leonard's. Those hearings took place at High Plains Community Center and Orange Junior High School. In fact, the Stew Leonard hearing was such a hot topic it had to be moved from High Plains to the junior high.
Being such a stickler for detail that he is why didn't Paolini initially schedule the lot size public hearing at High Plains Community Center to begin with instead of wasting the time of the estimated 200 plus residents that crowded the lower level meeting room at town hall last week. Their time is valuable too